Thursday, May 04, 2006

And Sometimes we even Sit Down to Write Novels

by James Grippando

I read Paul's blog on Monday (Scottoline, Grippando & Levine, Attorneys at Law), and while my first impression was that I vote to put the firm names in alphabetical order rather than ascending levels of testosterone, my overwhelming impression was when the heck to these people have time to write?

Lately, I'm almost as guilty as Paul on this front, as I was involved in about half the diversions he managed to cram into the week. In my case, however, last week was a definite anomoly. My first novel was published in 1994, and yet the big shindig in New York last week for the 60th Anniversary Edgar Symposium was the first time in my life that I had attended the Edgars. I would file this lapse under the category of I didn't know what I was missing. It was well run, well organized, and of course the panels were excellent and informative. But beyond that, there is a lot to be said for simply chewing the fat (no aspersions cast upon the Grand Hyatt's banquet food)with fellow authors. I love being around people who love what they're doing, and there is nothing like being in a roomful of people who, deep down, not only love it, but realize how lucky they are to make a living doing it.

My wife and I made a mini-vacation out of the NYC trip. We stayed at the Pierre, which has a free Rolls Royce for guests to use if the residents in the building aren't using it. I'm not really into that stuff, but I have to say that just once in your life, you should step out of a shiny new Rolls on Fifth Avenue. My wife and I hammed it up a bit, but it's like being 12 again and playing movie stars. Next time, I'm going to put a political spin on it and see if Paul will play Secret Service Agent for us.

Oh yeah, yesterday, my eleventh novel was published - Lying with Strangers. It won't be in bookstores until 2007, but it is available right now as a Main Selection of the Literary Guild, Book of the Month Club, and Doubleday Book Clubs. This is the first time the book clubs have made an original novel available exclusively to their members, so I'm very excited. It's not in the Swyteck series, but it is a thriller in every sense of the word.

Bookspan, which owns the bookclubs, has been really good to me. The long-term business arrangement (in which "Lying with Strangers" is just the beginning) is the most exciting thing that has happened to me in my career (more about that in future blogs). But it is the personal side that is making this so enjoyable. Tiffany and I had dinner at the home of Cathy and Markus Wilhelm the night before the Edgars (Markus is the CEO of Bookspan). Markus has held this position for 18 years, which is remarkable, since someone in his position usually lasts about 18 months. When I was in NY last November, everyone of course was toasting to the success of the exclusive arrangement for Lying with Strangers but the thing that impressed me most was when Markus said that the most important thing is that we become friends out of this arrrangement. It's great to find someone who values relationships in this business, and that came through at his home. Tiffany and felt immediately comfortable with the Wilhelms. Their children and labra-doodle greeted us at the door. There were 14 people at the dinner table, including Nelson DeMille, Carole Baron (Markus' right arm at Bookspan and former president of Putnam), and Ann Moore (CEO of Time-Warner),and there was not a pretentious bone in the house. Very refreshing.

Enough for now. Time to write. Next week: I found a writer who is not Elmore Leonard and who still writes long hand. Can you guess who it is?

James Grippando


  1. Congratulations on your publication, James! That sounds terrific, all around.

  2. Uh...let's see...a writer who writes longhand. Hmmm, this is a mystery, right? If I followed the clues properly then it's got to be Nelson DeMille. Do I get a prize?

  3. Congratulations! I hereby officially appoint Patty as queen of prize giving.

  4. Thanks, Barrister. My elevation to Queen status is gratefully accepted. When do I get fitted for my tiara?